11/08/2012 1:16PM

Breeders' Cup 2012: Mizzen Mast pulls rare double

Emily Shields
Flotilla, winning the Juvenile Fillies, was one of two Mizzen Mast horses who won a Breeders' Cup race last weekend. Mizdirection was the other.

The Breeders’ Cup results showcased the progeny of many of the international bloodstock market’s most prominent sires on the sport’s biggest stage, and Juddmonte Farms’s Mizzen Mast had a breakout weekend, siring two Breeders’ Cup winners, the only stallion to achieve such a feat this year.

On Nov. 2, French invader Flotilla posted her first career stakes win when she stormed home to take the Juvenile Fillies. The following day, it was West Coast-based Mizdirection who finished best of all to take the Turf Sprint.

It was a weekend to remember for Prince Khalid Abdullah’s breeding and racing operation in a season already made special by his undefeated homebred European superstar, Frankel.

The results at Santa Anita reaffirms Mizzen Mast’s reputation as a sire who imbues versatility and soundness in his progeny. Mizzen Mast, a 14-year-old son of the late turf champion and leading sire Cozzene, stood his first season at Juddmonte in 2003 after a successful racing career in France and the U.S., highlighted by his win in the 2001 Grade 1 Malibu Stakes for trainer Bobby Frankel.

“He’s been a very solid horse for us and for everybody from the very beginning,” said Garrett O’Rourke, farm manager for Juddmonte’s Lexington division. “We used Mizzen Mast prudently and bred him to a lot of young mares coming home off the track whose [breeders] wanted to get an early winner. And he’s been very successful from that point of view.

“He will get you early runners, and a lot of them will still be around as 4- and 5-year-olds and still performing at a respectable level, and some of them at the very top level,” he said.

Mizzen Mast’s first crop included multiple graded stakes winner Jibboom and 2008 Hollywood Gold Cup winner Mast Track, both of whom excelled on turf and synthetic surfaces. Mizzen Mast’s popularity increased as he sired domestic runners such as Grade 1 winners Midships and Ultimate Eagle. He has 29 stakes winners from 482 foals to date ages 3 and up (6 percent).

Mizzen Mast’s successful Breeders’ Cup weekend brought back memories of his sire’s prominence in Breeders’ Cup events during the 1980s and 1990s. Cozzene captured the Mile in the second World Championships en route to an Eclipse Award as champion turf male, and his sons Tikkanen and Alphabet Soup won the 1994 Turf and 1996 Classic.

Mizzen Mast, out of the Graustark mare Kinema, also shares with Cozzene and his legendary grandsire Caro a pedigree devoid of the most prominent sire lines in the American bloodstock market, making him an attractive option for breeders seeking an outcross. O’Rourke and Juddmonte have emphasized Mizzen Mast’s unique qualities throughout his stud career.

“Sometimes, with a percentage of horses, breeders are looking for an outcross,” O’Rourke said. “But an outcross is no good to you if it doesn’t work well with those lines − Mr. Prospector, Raise a Native, Northern Dancer. And [the Caro line] was always the one line that always worked well with those lines. It was safe.

“When Cozzene was gone, you know, I thought it was worth reminding people of how valuable Mizzen Mast is,” he said. “You go and run the reports on his best progeny, and bang, there they are − they’re all out of Mr. Prospector-line mares and Gone West-line mares and Northern Dancer-line mares. So with Mizzen Mast, here’s your outcross, but it’s an outcross that works. That’s very important.”